Gilberto Santa Rosa’s musical elegance and style has made him one of the most prominent figures in popular music. His countless accolades in the recording industry reaffirm his validity through the years, among them the 2002 ASCAP Latin Heritage Award, 6 GRAMMY awards most recently, Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for Necesito Un Bolero. His rewarding musical path and consistency as one of the most listened to recording artists on the radio having achieved 14 number one hits on Billboard’s Tropical Airplay chart, record sales history including a multitude of Gold, Platinum and Multi-Platinum album certifications, and the honor of being the artist with the most #1’s on Billboard’s Tropical albums chart (12 in total) make him one of the most successful Latin music vocalists in the world.
While in his teens, Gilberto attended La Escuela Libre de Música de San Juan, Puerto Rico, and even though he played the saxophone and the trumpet his desire for singing was always present. On January 6, 1975 he had his national debut as a vocalist on a televised Christmas special. This marked the beginning of a wonderful musical career that lasted for more than three decades.
His presence with La Grande orchestra for two years, as well as his participation with the groups Don Perigñon, Fantasía Boricua of Manolito Rodríguez, and the Puerto Rico All Star Tommy Olivencia, placed the young Puerto Rican on an important pedestal in the Salsa movement of the 70’s.
Guided by his musical desires, he became part of the Willie Rosario orchestra in 1981. This movement placed him as one of the new voices of the Salsa movement in Puerto Rico as well as the international scene. The union to Willie Rosario added musical hits like “Lluvia” and “Botaron la pelota”, songs that have transcended through time.
His path as a solo singer was established in the second half of 80’s. A period where he became known as the “Caballero de la Salsa”. Gilberto’s unique style as a tropical artist appeared in early albums Salsa en Movimiento, Keeping Cool, Good Vibrations and De Amor y Salsa, for Combo Records.
After 1990, Santa Rosa became part of multinational record label Sony Discos (currently Sony Music Latin), recording almost twenty albums including such hits as; Perspectiva (1991), A dos tiempos de un tiempo (1992), “En Vivo Desde Carnegie Hall” (1995), Esencia (1996), Expresión (1999), Intenso (2001), Sólo bolero (2003), Auténtico (2004), Directo al corazón (2006), Contraste (2007), all awarded by the American Recording Association “RIAA” for the success in sales. Una Navidad con Gilberto (2008), Irrepetible (2010) and Gilberto Santa Rosa (2012).
Gilberto Santa Rosa was awarded the Lifetime Culture Achievement award in September 2012 in New York City. By the South-South News Organization, an agency ascribed to the United Nations. This important acknowledgment is given to individuals that have performed significant contributions for world development. Acknowledging Gilberto Santa Rosa made him the first musician to be honored among heads of state and politicians who have received this award. An international jury understood that Gilberto’s music is an instrument that promotes cultural development and pointed out his performance as a spokesman for social campaigns such as the National Association for Diabetes and other initiatives that create an awareness of domestic violence and mistreatment of women. Being honored with this award from the United Nations, an entity that is not linked to the music or entertainment industry makes it unique from the many other accolades that Gilberto has received.
In 2013, Gilberto debuted on Broadway, where he was an invited guest in the musical production revival of Forever Tango at the Walter Kerr Theater. His performance showed his great stage charisma and variety of talents captivating the American public while singing Tangos and Ballads. Santa Rosa participated as a coach on the reality show La Voz Colombia, a competition of vocal talents where Gilberto showed one more time his great musical knowledge.
2015 was a wonderful year for Gilberto. In March he received the first “Premio Estrella” awarded by the most important Festival in the salsa genre (Día Nacional de la Zalsa), presented in prestigious stages across Peru, Mexico, United States and many other countries. Also in 2015 Gilberto launched in the United States and Puerto Rico his latest album Necesito un Bolero (I need a Ballad). The project, his first for Sony Mexico, is composed of 14 songs and among them 4 powerful duets with music legends: Marco Antonio Solis, Eugenia Leon, Natalia Lafourcade and Lena. This album earned him his fifth Latin GRAMMY award, and first in the Pop field for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.